4C -Fall 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Make Michigan wins exec.
positions in CSG elections
Frat falls under scrutiny for
racially charged party plans
Public Policysjunior Bobby Dishell and LSA sophomore Meagan Shokar of Make Michigan celebrate their victory as CSG
president and vice-president on April 1, 2014.
LSA senior Eric Quang, president of the Theta Xi Fraternity, and LSA junior Allen Wu listen to oral arguments at a hear-
ing on November 20, 2012 at the Michigan Union concerning the fraternity's planned racially-charged party theme.
By KRISTEN FEDOR
The results are in.
Public Policy junior Bobby
Dishell and LSA sophomore Mea-
gan Shokar of Make Michigan
willibe the CSG president and vice
president, respectively, for the
2014-2015 academic year.
The results come five days after
polls closed for the March 26-27
Central Student Government elec-
tions. Dishell and Shokar won
with 3,937 votes cast in their favor,
beating out their next-closest
competitors - FORUM candi-
dates Carly Manes, a Public Policy
junior, and LSA junior Pavitra
Abraham - by more than 1,000
Dishell is the current CSG vice
president and Shokar currently
serves as speaker of the CSG
assembly. Both candidates empha-
sized their experience in execu-
tive positions as a strength of their
After receiving the news,
Dishell congratulated his support-
ers for their collective effort.
"All the credit goes to this
team," Dishell said. "We couldn't
be more proud of everyone."
CSG President Michael Proppe,
a Business senior, a large support-
er of Dishell and Make Michigan,
attended the party's makeshift
"He's been right at my sid4 the
entire time this year," Proppe said.
"I'm really excited to see what
they're going to do next year."
Six complaints filed with the
University Elections Commission
delayed the release of results, but
each case was either resolved or
dropped by Tuesday afternoon.
The rulings had negligible impact
on the official results of the elec-
The complaint with the great-
est potential consequence was
dropped on Monday when Make
Michigan officially withdrew its
suit against FORUM for alleged
abuse of e-mail privileges.
Make Michigan filed the com-
plaint against its rival party after
LSA junior Domenic Rizzolo, out-
reach co-director for FORUM,
sent a campaigning e-mail using a
listerv he did not own. If the UEC
had ruled FORUM guilty, the
party would have faced demerits
for each recipient of the e-mail in
question. The total accumulation
of demerits would have exceeded
limits outlined in the election code
and resulted in the disqualifica-
tion of each FORUM candidate.
After further reviewing the
case, Dishell concluded that Riz-
zolo's e-mail would have had
marginal impact on the election
itself and decided to withdraw his
suit. In a statement sent out to all
candidates announcing the with-
drawal, Dishell said he wanted to
avoid the hostile environment and
unproductive intra-CSG rivalries
created by a lengthy litigation
process. He added that he filed
the official complaint initially to
uphold the provisions of the elec-
"You can always withdraw, just
like we did," Dishell said. "But I
can't, after the fact, go back and
say, I really wish we had filed this."
The official complaints regard-
ing alleged campaign finance
infractions by FORUM, the Party
Party and the House of Cards
Party were.upheld and addressed
in a UEC hearing Monday eve-
ning. Business senior Matthew
Fernandez, rep-manager for Make
Michigan, filed the complaint on
behalf of Make Michigan, citing
failure to publish receipts on cam-
paign finance forms as a major
Dishell said these cases, in con-
trast to the alleged e-mail misuse,
could have had an impact on vot-
ing. He said possible overspend-
ing could have created an unfair
In an official ruling released
Tuesday, the UEC found all three
parties guilty of the infraction, but
reduced the punishment outlined
in the election code. Whilea major
infraction usually calls for three
to four demerits per violation, the
UEC instead assigned two demer-
its per party.
The UEC cited miscommunica-
tion between candidates and the
election director as well as vague-
ness of the wording of the election
code as grounds for reducing the
number of demerits assigned for
In the ruling, the UEC said
campaign finance forms provided
to candidates did not explicitly
contain instructions for receipts
that were called for in the code.
Additionally, once respondents
were made aware of the violation,
they provided the appropriate
These demerits did not affect
the outcome of the election in
any way. Parties are penalized for
demerits until they reach 10, at
which point that party is removed
from the election entirely.
Law student Bryson Nitta, elec-
tion director, released a dissenting
opinion along with the UEC's offi-
cial ruling. Nitta acts as an ex offi-
cio member of the UEC and does
not vote on official rulings.
Nitta expressed discontent
with the demerits assigned to-
FORUM, the Party Party and the
House of Cards Party.
"Candidates and students are
not law enforcement officers
trained in detecting deceit and
fraud," Nitta wrote.
Manes and Abraham hugged
fellow FORUM candidates after
receiving the news that they did
not win. Manes said their work
will not stop despite the election's
"We wholeheartedly believe
that titles don't really give you
any extra power," Manes said. "If
students believe in doing things,
they can get things done just by
their own motivation and their
own personal drive and passion
because they care about things."
Students file formal
response to Theta
Xis "ratchet" theme
By STEPHANIE SHENOUDA
October 30, 2013 -An inves-
tigation has been launched into
the University's chapter of the
Theta Xi fraternity after several
students filed formal complaints
with the University administra-
tion regarding the fraternity's
now-cancelled plans to host a
party with a "ratchet" theme
Many students of color say
they were personally offended
by the invitation that was sent
via Facebook, complaining that
it parodied Black culture and
offended women, referring to
twerkingcontests, "bad bitches,"
gang references and repeated
use of the word "ratchet."
Early Thursday morning,
Theta Xi members said the fra-
ternity won't be commenting on
the matter. Fraternity brothers
were camped out on the Diag for
their annual "Defend the Diag"
Dean of Students Laura Blake
Jones, who lodged a formal com-
plaint with the fraternity, said
the University responded imme-
diately and took student com-
plaints very seriously.
Jones held a meeting yester-
day with the Greek Life Director
Mary Beth Seiler, Interfrater-
nity Council leaders and LSA
senior Eric Quang, Theta Xi's
president. The University
also reached out to Theta Xi's
national board, whose members
expressed concern and are con-
ducting their own investigation.
The administration made it
clear that the party will not be
allowed to take place on Nov. 7,
and Theta Xi's national head-
quarters has determined all
further social events will be sus-
pended until their investigations
"It was very important that
we all get together and discuss
the impact this unfortunate
event has had on the Univer-
sity community, as well as our
expectations moving forward,"
Jones said. "Obviously, the way
the party was both conceived of
and executed is in direct contra-
diction to the standards of our
Jones plans to meet with stu-
dents Thursday to discuss ways
of remedying the situation, as
well as making sure their under-
lying concerns about racial
issues on campus are addressed.
Additionally, an e-mail inform-
ing students of the discussion
and expressing disappointment
was sent out Thursday morning
to address a largely "negative"
While Jones stopped short of
calling events like this a trend,
she said it's clear that some
level of education and dialogue
is necessary to ensure that stu-
dents are aware what language
and behavior is appropriate, and
how cultural appropriation has
potential for harm.
"In society we certainly see
examples, not only in parties
but in the media and how people
present themselves; it's certainly
not a problem unique to Greek
Life or our campus," Jones said.
"The incident in question was
not only racially offensive, but
degrading to women in general,
and the most restorative way to,
move forward is to provide edu-
cation on why this is not accept-
The fraternity is in the pro-
cess of drafting an apology to
the students who came forward,
which will later be broadly cir-
culated as a means of accepting
responsibility for their situation,
LSA junior Geralyn Gaines,
secretary for the Black Student
Union, described her initial
reaction to the event as "com-
plete and utter disgust." She said
this was the first time she's per-
sonally experienced racism on
campus or felt specifically tar-
geted and attacked.
"I love U of M and even today
I'm fundamentally happy, but
it's scary to think that I sit in
class with people who think this
way and people that agree with
them, people who legitimately
thought this party was a good
idea and was okay," Gaines said.
"The invitation amplified stereo-
types and used a level of disgust-
ing language that it was evident
they activelytried to offend us."
Gaines said she was particu-
larly offended by the use of the
word "ratchet," which she says
is prominently used in the Black
community to describe some-
thing terrible or someone who
doesn't know how to handle
themselves. She also took issue
with the invitees section, which
specifically asked for "bad bitch-
es" and "rachet pussy," which
she believes was an attempt to
make a mockery of Black cul-
Gaines believes that requir-
ing the University to approve all
party themes moving forward
would help avoid similar issues
in the future.
Music, Theatre & Dance
senior Erica Nagy said she was
compelled to write a formal
complaint after seeing the emo-
tional toll the situation took on
"We were all mad and found
the situation unacceptable,
especially after seeing how
upset she'd been the whole day
after carrying this hurt around
with her," Nagy said. "You don't
have to be a certain race to be
offended by racist matefial; I
think anyone who isn't offended
isn't paying attention."
She specifically took issue
with the fact that no one
involved in the fraternity identi-
fied with Black culture and that
they used language "that wasn't
theirs to use" in an attempt to
directly offend people.
Though this was the first time
she had been invited to a party
with an offensive theme, Nagy
she knows it happens often -
both in and out of Greek Life -
because people don'tunderstand
the ramifications of cultural
"I guess my hope for all of this
is that it starts a conversation
about race on this campus so
that people can learn that their
words and actions truly affect
other people," she said. "I don't
want to see (Theta Xi) punished
because I don't think that would
solve the true problem here; we
need to get people talking and
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